Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

 

Ok, so Little Miss is turning 5 in a week and a half.

And as much as I’d love to be that Pinterest mom that has perfectly done hair and nails and throws the most on point thematic party down to the T; including snacks, parties favors, etc….

I am not her!

I’m the messy bun mom, wearing morning breakfast left overs and trying to keep the baby  from being smothered by his sister’s “loving” embrace or flattened by the older brother who thinks he’s a WWF wrestler.

My sister Lindsay is a freak’n rockstar when it comes to this kind of thign.  She puts Pinterest to shame.  Me…ya I like to compare myself to Cliff Notes.

You know -that compact yellow holy bible for high schoolers that allows you to look and sound like your awesome and know everything without really having to read the entire novel or do all the critical thinking.

Yup…I’m Cliff Notes.

If you are like me- meaning you like cutesy, artsy fartsy stuff but are super busy with other kids, life and attempting to maintain your sanity then I recommend the doing what I do.  Choose a few key items to match the theme then let everything else go.  I like to select the most visible things, like the cake.

So, for Sarah’s upcoming party I’m doing a mermaid theme party. I’m focusing on the cake, main activity (pool party) and gifts.

Again, don’t overwhelm yourself.  Check out what I’ve got planned, take notes, and do your best.

Thematic cake– purchased or hand made.  I’m doing Ariel pull apart cupcakes.  Here’s my first trial run.  My next mermaid will be much less busty.  I got a little carried away with the frosting.  Hehe.

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Oceanic Face Painting

I purchased a face painting kit from #AvaandFrankPaints.  The face and body paint palette is vegan, non-toxic, comes with 3 brushes, 2 sponges and 16 colors including gold and silver. The colors are beautiful and come off easily with water.

My kids love getting their face painted and both my hubby and I like drawing so it’s a win all around. Personally, I think it’s awesome paint. The paint is non toxic, nut-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, lead-free, lanolin-free, gluten free, hypo-allergenic, vegan, cruelty-free, FDA compliant and tested by US PHD cosmeticians. It’s going to be a smash.  Seriously it’s the best.  I’m going to have so much fun with it.  I’m so happy I got to purchase it at a discount in exchange for a review. The kids are going to love it at the party!

Activity– Swimming…that’s pretty mermaidy… right? I mean what kids doesn’t love swimming.  Sarah is a freak’n rockstar and basically taught herself how to swim.

Mermaid Gifts

I found an app that I love called Wish.  I call it my Chinese Amazon.  The prices are totally cheap and cute.  It takes  a while to ship though.  Give it a month at least.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  Anyways, while doing Christmas shopping last year I went ahead and got Sarah’s Birthday stuff.  I’m so excited to give them to her.  Here’s a sneak peak.

With everything else I’m taking it easy.  There will be outdoor games and a painting station that children can go to whenever they feel like it.

No organized games here.  I’m not that mom.

But you know what…that’s ok.  Kids like Cliff Notes.  It’s true.  Kids are happy just being around other kids. Why stress myself out.  I will get to relax and talk to their parents. and the party will have the overall appearance of Pinterest greatness.

Maybe for added measure, I’ll put out some Goldfish crackers.

We’ll see.

Sarah’s party may not be the most flashy and beautifully thematic party but I know my daughter is going to love it and I’m going to have a good time.

And you know what..that is all that matters.

One Braid. One Pigtail. One Happy Girl.

When I asked Sarah yesterday whether she wanted a pony tail, braids, or pig tails for school I wasn’t expecting to have a moment that would alter my parenting.  With a gleam in her big brown eyes, my daughter excited replied: “One pigtail.  One braid.”

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Today I am being featured on Mommy Blog Expert.  I’m super stoked about this post and hope you enjoy it.  Click here to read the full post.

Comment, share and/or follow me on any social media  – Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+

 

Ways to Grieve and Honor a Lost Child

“Grief is the price we pay for loving someone—and that the price is worth it.” -Steven Eastmond

Four years ago, I underwent a gut wrenching event that changed me and my marriage.  We lost a child.  Miscarriage is not uncommon but that knowledge really doesn’t give any comfort to those who have experienced one.  A few months back I wrote about my own experience with miscarriage.  It was cathartic and healing.

Today I am sharing ways to remember and grieve the loss of a child, as gleaned from personal experiences, interviews and more.  The full post is being featured on  whatsupfagans.com.

Stressed young woman sitting in bathtub

Some ways to grieve and remember the loss of a child as discussed in the article are:

  1. Join a support group
  2. Hold a ceremony
  3. Keep a journal
  4. Share with others
  5. Serve
  6. Pray
  7. Momentos….and more

Be sure to head over to whatsupfagans.com and read my contributor post this month!  And please share with someone who may be in need.

3 Is The New 6

“Now, I see we didn’t do x-rays last time?  Remind me why that is again?” a short, latino hygienist asks thru her round spectacles.

I quickly reply “Because I was pregnant” while bracing myself for a series of questions I know are to come.  Questions that I am annoyingly asked on the regular.  By complete strangers, I may add.  The same questions that invoke feelings of frustration, ironic humor and a tint of “none of your damn business”…I mean… a sense of privy.

“Oh, really?  How many kids do you have? ”

And so it begins.

I politely answer, “Three.”

“Oh, wow.  How old?”

Yup, saw that one coming.

“Four, two, and four months.”  

And what will it be next?  Will it be “So this is your last, right?”  “Are you done?” “Are you going to have another one?” or is the lucky winner going to be plain yet loud “I don’t know how you have more than one;  and all so little.”

“Are you going to have another one?”  Winner…winner…chicken dinner.

And the answer….I don’t know. Having three kids now a days is hard!

I am the last of six.  I’m the oops baby.  The “I’m pregnant?  I thought I was going through menopause baby?”  I’m the envied sibling, because by the time I came mom and dad had money to spend.  My husband has three other siblings.  And to top it off, I’m Mormon.  We’re programmed to have like eight kids, right?!  So why is it that I am so unwilling to think about having more kids right now?

Could it be the fact that I just had a kid?  Possibly.

Could it be that my baby is the easiest of my three kids?  Probably.  No, really.  The other two are kicking my butt.  I mean, how funny is that the one child who depends solely on me to meet his every need is the easiest?  That’s irony for you.

Or is it that in today’s world 3 is the new 6?

Forget, the exorbitant cost of vacationing with a large family or simply going out to eat. Let’s briefly reflect on the required things, like feeding all 6 mouths.  I’ve gone grocery shopping with three kids and by the end look like I just crossed the plains by handcart; that or am secretly plotting my own kidnapping so I can have a five minute break without kids.

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I don’t know how women like my mother had six kids.  Six unique, different personalities interacting on a daily basis without the blessings of iPhones, tablets and Disney Jr.  Did they ever leave the house?  How did they go out to eat?  Or grocery shop for that matter?  Better yet, how did they keep madness from ensuing, stopping sibling tussles from turning into bitter rivalries and blood baths equivalent to the Hatfields and McCoys, the Jets vs Sharks, Bloods vs Crips (What? I’m from California.  Can I not make mention of that?)  Ok..ok.. how about Lindsey Lohan vs sobriety?  You get the point.

To those men and woman who choose to have large families, I salute you.  And to those who in this day and age are going for a handful or more, I don’t know how you do it but BRAVO.  I swear Heavenly Father is sending down some of his most stubborn strongest spirits to endure such a world.

My daughter has a mind of her own.  Good luck telling her to do or think something she doesn’t want.  You almost never win.  She is that set in her ways.  This is why my husband and I are so determined to raise our children not just in the church, but ridiculously active followers of Christ.  I’m convinced that Sarah is just like her father.  The only thing that is going to change her mind is the Holy Ghost.  I know that if she gains a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, she will not falter.  And if you try to get her to think anything contrary….well, good luck to you.  It ain’t happening.

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My daughter isn’t a unicorn.  Rather, I am finding many other parents who share similar battle stories.  We wear our scars (i.e. spit-up riddled clothing, unkept messy hair, and memories of that horrible grocery trip) as badges of honor.  We are all in the same fox hole, afraid to lift our heads up for fear of it being blown off.  And like me, they too, are baffled by these little mustangs coming down to earth.  Were children always like this or is it truly a “gift” they have inherited in the pre-existence to survive the negative ideas and stereotypes of today’s world?

I tend to lean to the former.

“Are you pregnant?”  The technician asks as she places a ridiculously heavy lead vest on me while prepping to take x-rays.

My response: “I better not be.”

After all 3 is the new 6.

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Hang In There Momma

 12794479_1127330407297988_2695354613221122817_nPhoto by Jessica Gaines of Chasing Sammi Photography

 

To that momma struggling to hold back the tears and overwhelming feelings of grief and failure with breastfeeding, I love you.  Go ahead and cry.

 

 To that momma who is weighing the pros and cons of switching to formula, you are not alone.

 

To the momma who’s kid just won’t latch right, carry on.

 

To all of you, I promise it gets better.

 

thumb_thumb_DSC00725_1024_1024My Beautiful Daughter

 

I chose to breastfeed.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come so naturally and easy.  After I had my daughter, I quickly came to understand why someone may give up breastfeeding.

 

Breastfeeding is hard.

 

I went to a dark place after the birth of my daughter.  I was a postpartum mess as I dealt with strong feelings of grief, dismay and failure.

 

Why?
I couldn’t feed my daughter.  I tried and tried, then tried some more with little success.  My breasts were manhandled by way too many people as they each attempted to show me the right way to feed my midget; like they were a bag of frosting being shoved into a closed lipped, diabetic’s mouth. And I still looked 4 months pregnant.

 

I had very few feeding sessions that went well.  It was 45-90 minutes of confusion, frustration and utter despair.  I would try my best but my helpless little girl would tighten up and screech out in what I later came to realize was gas pain.  I felt like a horrible mom.  Why can’t I feed my own child?  What is wrong with me?  She can do it.  Why not me?

 

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Photo by Jessica Gaines of Chasing Sammi Photography

 

It got to the point where my husband would get his worried look on his face and take Sarah away from me for a little.  “I’m gonna take her for a little.  Why don’t you take a bath?”  I’m still not sure if it was out of pity, fear or protection; either way I needed it.  With that came relief and then further guilt.  This new mom was getting her butt kicked. I even missed attending my sister’s wedding because I was such hot mess.

 

Eventually, I learned that Sarah had latch issues due to a mild tied tongue.  That combined with a fast and heavy let down gave little miss a great deal of gas and stomach pain.  I, being a new mom, didn’t know or recognize the signs of gas.  All I knew was that she couldn’t or wouldn’t eat. It wasn’t until my sister came to visit that she immediately noticed Sarah pulling her legs up- a classic sign of gas.  Where was she weeks before?  My poor little girl had suffered so much.  

 

My sister taught me what to look for and different ways to get the gas out. There is this one move she called that soda pop, where you lay your baby upside down, their back against your chest while you firmly massage his/her belly with you fingers, then quickly bring them right side up and push their belly against your shoulder and pat out a burp; or spit up in my case.  I also learned the miraculous power of gripe water.

 

 

I am proud to say I didn’t give up. I joined a breastfeeding class a week or two after Sarah was born and faithfully attending for a year.  The lactation consultant, Tracy Grady was my saving grace! She was so patient and supportive as were the other ladies in the group who would see me break down and over encouraging words and personal stories.  I joined mommy groups.  I bought lanolin.  I read.  I prayed.  I’m pretty sure I even asked my husband to give me a priesthood blessing.

 

With time, Sarah’s tied tongue stretched out enough and her latch got better. I learned to recognize signs of distress and a variety of ways to treat gas pains.  My favorite is the “I Love U” belly massage. Or is it the “Karate Kid belly massage?” You know… wax on wax off.  Either way, after three months of what seemed like endless tears, pain and sadness (on both our parts), depression and feelings of inadequacy, Sarah and I began to turn a corner.

 

I watched what I ate to avoid gassy foods. I endured bites, cracked and bleeding nipples, soreness, milk blebs (blisters on your nipples) ***sorry male readers for repeatedly writing nipples*** Luckily, I never got mastitis.  I went through a postpartum depression that my husband and I were not prepared for.  Poor guy.  I broke down in tears more times that I can count. But in the end, I endured and am damn proud of that fact.

 

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I successfully breastfed my daughter for 16 months.  I fought a valiant fight and won.  But my accomplishment is not and should not be the standard.  Nor should it make someone feel bad about only breastfeeding  3 months or not at all.  To each their own.

 

What I can say is that I now completely understand why people throw in the towel or chose from the start to not breastfeed.  I almost gave up many times.  If I didn’t have my breastfeeding support group’s weekly meetings and their Facebook page (which I still frequent), supportive family, friends, and my ridiculously  inherit stubborn nature, I would have been right there with you and that would have been ok.

 

 12803002_1127330550631307_5888231372607010864_n Special Thanks to K. Crawford

 

Each of us must decide what is best for our kiddo and ourselves. For me it was breastfeeding.  In the beginning it was an emotional rollercoaster but so worth it.  In those quiet moments, where my daughter would peacefully drink as she looked up me with these beautiful brown eyes, I knew it was worth it.   When she would place her soft, small hand on my breast while receiving nourishment, I knew it was more than just food, but love and comfort as well.  All the tears were worth it.  All the pain, the sorrow, the heartache.  I did what I felt was right for my daughter and believe that both she and I were blessed for it.

 

I have since breast two other children.  Both sons breastfed from the start without a hitch. One still is.  And like Sarah, they too have in their own way shared their gratitude and love while breastfeeding.  Those moments when they briefly stop eating and smile (not just with their lips but eyes as well) remind me it is worth it and coincidentally encourage me to continue with David.  Someday my body will be mine again, but for now I’m perfectly content sharing it with my son.

 

For those mommas who are set to breastfeed and are getting their butts kicked, please know that I am with you.   I support you and believe that you can do it.

Can I Have a Do-over?

Have you ever had one of those days that by 9:30 a.m. you’re wishing for a redo?

You just feel so incredibly defeated, frustrated and/or guilty?

That was me yesterday.  Need proof?  Look at the pic below.  Nuff said.

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I don’t know what it was but I knew I had so much to do and I couldn’t motivate myself to do it which then in-turn created more guilt that basically crippled me.  I watched a movie the other day in which the main character claimed to be STRESS PARALYZED.  Now, I am fully aware that this is a made up thing.  But it should be real thing because that’s what I felt.

Maybe it’s the adjustment to being a full time SHM (stay at-home mom) but I mean come on…. it’s been 9 months or more.  I should have this down to a freaking art right now.  Theoretically, I do.  I have an awesome schedule.  I love my schedule!

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On paper it makes me look like I am so productive and well-balanced.  There’s activities for the kids and for me, structure, space to write in the week’s meals, to-do list, etc.  The problem is that I never remember to fill out the schedule until midway through the week; and then at that point I feel like I don’t want to have a paper that’s half empty so then I just put it off until the following week.  Thinking to myself, I’m going to do it on Sunday.  Sunday comes and goes, then Monday and Tuesday and then again I catch myself thinking: Crap, I never did my schedule.  Oh well.  It’s too late now.

Have you ever purposely added things you’ve already done to a checklist to check them off and feel good about yourself?  That’s me. Wierd I know.

Anyways, I’m trying but I haven’t quite got this whole schedule thing worked out.  I just need to get up and be like Nephi (go and do) but yesterday all I saw were the many things that needed to be done- play with my kids, clean my house, toys, fit in yard work, figure out a way to make money from home and then some.  Not to mention, I would like to keep up the blog that I started… that I love… that I haven’t been getting around to lately because of my responsibilities and tasks.

Everything all just comes at one time and in those moments all I want to do is sit there in a little ball and watch a chick flick.  Unfortunately, this is a dream because as soon as the desire takes root the four month old cries and then the mom guilt sets in.

I’m not taking care of my child.  Yes, he’s only 4 months but he needs his mom’s love and affection. Oh look he rolled over!!!  You’re such a big boy. Great, now he’s crying because he is now stuck on his belly.  Quickly, I go to roll his royal fatness over.  Wow, he’s getting really good at rolling over.  Ah, crap.  He’s stuck on his belly again.  Seriously, dude.  Please stop rolling over and getting stuck on your belly.

 And there it is …. the two and four year old are fighting again. What are they fighting over now?  Toys?  Food?  What?  A sticker.  Yup, it would be a sticker.  And now what are you doing?  Yes, let’s dump everything out of your dresser.  Clothes all over the ground.  Hey, why not?  Let’s just add it to the list of crap that needs to be cleaned and picked up.

Yes, yesterday was one of those days. By 9:30 a.m. I was hoping for a reset button.

The house was a mess and time was running out before I needed to take the oldest midget to preschool.  That’s when the pressure really hits.

For those who aren’t aware, I live in my childhood home keeping an eye on my parent’s place while they serve a church service mission as LDS Temple Presidents in Redlands, CA. I love my parents!  They are amazing parents. It’s great living close to them after living away from them for the past several years. Seriously, it is.  The downside- mom and dad live so close that they can and do come home whenever they feel like it.  As they should.

Don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t a bad thing in the slightest.  I love seeing my parents.  I have a great relationship with them and my kids love seeing their grandparents.  The fact that my mom completely spoils them; probably plays a key role in that.  It’s just that I never know if the house will be clean when they pop in.  It’s like there is an axe hanging over my head, not knowing when is going to drop.  If you are reading this, sorry dad.  I love you.  Please don’t tell mom.

It’d be different if they popped in unexpectedly at my own home.  If it’s a mess no biggie- it’s my mess.  But this is their home; with that comes a feeling of obligation to treat it well.  And so it goes.

Will the house be clean or dirty when they pop in?

Are they going to be disappointed that I can’t keep their home of 30+ years nice?  Will they have to start cleaning for me?  As the self-inflicted guilt sets in, I quickly make excuses and/or run like a chicken with my head cut off to get things put away or hidden.

Like I said, it is just a hot mess.  I’m a hot mess.

So yesterday, with little time left before taking little miss to school, I went around trying to hurry and clean the areas of the house I think they’re going to walk through if they come.  The goal- make the house somewhat presentable.

As I do so, I start feeling guilty that I’m neglecting my kids…but the house needs to be cleaned…but the kids… oh that floor…and the cycle goes round and round.  It’s exhausting being in my head.

And I fully admit, 100%, that it is all me.  My fault entirely.  I’m creating the drama in my head.  I’m probably making up issues that don’t exist.  However, said acknowledgment does not bring any peace of mind.

This kind of sound like the ramblings of a crazy woman.

Well guess what?  I am.

You would go crazy too trying to wrangle three midgets daily, while making three homemade meals a day, cleaning, taking care of personal and business finances and then some.

CRAZINESS IS MY LIFE.

I’d like to say I got this and some days I do; just not yesterday.  So, what’s the game plan? What do you do when you are feeling done before the breakfast cereal even becomes soggy?

Make a conscious decision to change your mindset.  Then, make a game plan.

I feel more comfortable when my house is clean.  It’s nice; plus, it takes away the stress of what if my parents come home and the house is dirty.  So I did just that.  I quickly picked up the kitchen and vaccumed the carpet.  That way if my parents came home a dirty kitchen wouldn’t be the first thing they see.

Next, DECIDE TO MAKE AMENDS (with self and kids).

I took a deep breath and decided that I would do my best while Sarah was at school and be content with that.  I also apologized to my daughter for my behavior.  She and I spoke and agreed that if she had a good day at school then I would take her and her brothers to the park right after.

After stopping by the grocery store to pick up a few items, I continued on my “You can do This” to-do list which included feed brothers, put midgets down for nap, clean basement, and do some tax stuff.  If I could have those things done before I had to pick up Sarah at 3:30 life would be much better. I would be able to relax and let my kids be kids at the park without me stressing about all the things I should have done, didn’t do, and wasn’t doing at that time.

And I did.

I know you have had days like this.  There’s one lady I follow on Facebook by the handle Scissortail Silk.  She’s developed a whole community.  Reading her posts and other’s comments makes me feel less bad as a mom.  It’s nice to know that there are other moms out there going through the same things as me.  They have just as much love for their kids as I do.  Like me, they too occasionally want to just crawl in a hole and stay there.

We’re all going through the same struggles.  We all have those days where we want to reset an hour after waking up for the day but it is in those days we have to take solace in the fact that 1) we are not alone and 2) we are not the first to experience this.

ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BE AFFECTED.

I didn’t want my day to be ruined.  So I decided to stop wallowing, stop being frustrated and stop yelling at my kids.

I choose a few small things that I knew I could do and feel good about. My advice to you is to do the same.

On those days when you are feeling done, choose three things that you can do easily and well; then do it.  Don’t overload yourself.  Pick a few things.  Once you’ve accomplished one task (even if it’s a tiny thing like empty the bathroom trash) you’ll feel better about yourself.

When you take time to hang out with your kids (even if just for 5 minutes) and you hear them laugh, the mom guilt goes away and you feel rejuvenated.  With that renewed energy you can accomplish more.  Preaching to the choir right?  Hey, I’m learning along with you.

I’ll tell you what I tell myself.  It can be done.  We have all lived through rough days; sometimes by the skin of our teeth.  Nevertheless, we survive.  I believe in you and I believe in me.  Good luck.

**In case you are wondering where I find the time to write this.  I first speak my thoughts into a text or fb message then copy and paste to edit.  This is what I’m looking at as I start editing this post.  Those thighs!!!  I love my fat kid 2.0.

 

So You Want To Review And Then Some

Ok, so a bunch of you have asked me about the reviews I’ve been doing and how to join so this post is for you.

I love doing it!  It’s perfect for someone like myself.  I love shopping but can’t do much of it right now.  I love getting deals, love writing, am quite opinionated and enjoy being the center of attention.

Currently, I write reviews for:

Tomoson is a favorite of mine.  You apply for products to review and if selected post reviews on various social media sites.

AMZ Review Trader is similar to Tomoson.  You apply for products to review and if selected post reviews on various social media sites.

EliteDealClub is addicting.  You get a daily email at 6 am for sales that day. Sales go live at 7 am, 11 am and 5 pm pacific standard time. These items are heavily discounted or free in exchange for a review; but are limited in number so you have to act fast. Here’s an invite code if you want to join. elitedealclub.com/?invcode=V8H73bQ3

iLoveToReview sends you emails about products you can get for free ain exchange for an honest review.

Secret Deals Club also sends emails about products heavily discounted or free in exchange for a review.

My goal is in a year’s time to be reviewing (and keeping) cool items like cameras and making money off my blog that has hopefully more than the 5 followers I currently have.  In order to do so I need to build up my influence on different social media sites.

Do me a favor and follow will ya?  It’s on the sidebar on the right. You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook.

This whole blogging thing is new to me.  But hey, I’m learning and growing and I quite enjoy it.  That’s why I joined Sverve a site that encourages you to “Share your blog posts.  Endorse others.  Learn from each other.  Grow your network.”

I have a friend from Indiana who makes money from her blog, What’s Up Fagans.  It’s her way to contribute financially and still be a SHM. Within 3 years she grew her blog into a money making tool, has spoken at public events and has been published on Amazon.

Katelyn suggested that I look into joining the Blogger2Businnes Facebook group.  She said it’s a pretty good one and helpful for new bloggers. She also suggested applying to join the Kid Blogger Network.  They also have a great facebook group.

Speaking of making money, I’ve found a few sites that join bloggers with advertisers.

Sponsored reviews

Advertise on blogs Basically, advertisers buy blog reviews from popular blogs, hobby bloggers and maybe one of mine someday.  I just activated mine so we’ll see how it goes.  I’m hopeful.  It will be pretty awesome if I can make a little dough for doing something I think is fun.

Blogsvertise is another site I joined recently which also promises to help you make money blogging. You sign up to blog for various advertisers or can make money by displaying ads and banners on your blog. It connects advertisers and bloggers.  “For example, an advertiser who sells cleaning supplies contacts us and informs us as to what type of blog they would be interested in advertising on.”

iConnect promises to help bloggers monetize their blog with sponsorships, sponsored posts, or ambassadorships.  Not sure if this is true yet but can’t hurt to try.

Like I said, I’m new to all this but like what I’ve learned so far. Hope you do too.

 

Dear Future Daughter of Mine

DSC_2319   To my dearest daughter.  Someday you will be able to read this and I pray that when you do you will know how deeply loved you are.  I love and cherish your feisty demeanor, your endearing smile, your infections laugh and your uncanning ability to make friends wherever you go.  I love your fearless nature and your ability to see and replicate.  Your first time down a fireman’s pole at the playground was after watching another older child do it.  Really, you taught yourself to swim.  The other day you saw a kiddo swinging upside down and thought to yourself that looks fun, I think I’ll do that too.  And you did.

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I know that we often clash and engage in many ongoing battles over trivial matters like two bucks locking antlers in a futile attempt to draw the attention of a female doe.  As my voice becomes more stern, your little body stands tall, eyes firm, ready for battle.  At that moment, emotions are raging, both of us wanting to win and have the last say.  I tell others that you are just like your daddy and that’s why we butt heads; when in reality you are me- strong, independent, with a false sense that you are never wrong.  And for that, I love you, though I may not always show it.

12620781_10153776515921043_281174930_oI want to let you know that I’m sorry for those days I lost my temper, for those many times I demanded too much of you, my four year old.  How can I expect you to ignore all the siren toys in your room, calling you to play instead of cleaning your room all by yourself.  I’m sorry for the times I put my wants and needs before yours.  For those times, you asked me to play and I didn’t.  You are my ray of light.  I should bask in your warmth and glow so much more.

12633048_10153776510211043_44175359_oSarah, you are a wonderful girl.  Your father and I are so blessed to be your parents.  You do not realize it yet, but your little brother idolizes you.  Please keep that in mind as you grow older and become a teenager.  No crazy stuff please! Whatever you do Evan will follow suit.  And baby David… he gets the biggest toothless, gummy grin when you are near.  I love seeing you care for him, sing to him, play with him and protect him.  You are going to make the most amazing mother.  I can say this with the upmost confidence.

I am not a perfect mother.  There is so much more I need to learn as well as change.  I apologize now for my past mistakes and mistreatments as well as further misgivings.   I thank you in advance for your forgiveness.  “It’s alright mommy.  I give [forgive] you. I love you.”  Oh what joy those phrases bring to me.  You are the light of my life and I promise that I will be the best mommy I can be.  And when I falter, that means mess up, please love me, forgive me and hold my hand.  Together, with daddy and brothers, we will navigate this thing called life.  I love you bug.12636868_10153776509641043_1530683575_o

Are You Gonna Have Another?

So are you guys done or you going to have more kids? I cannot tell you how many freaking times people have asked me that.  As I smile on the outside, on the inside I’m yelling “None of your damn business!”  I still haven’t decided.  And by “decided” I mean that I still haven’t accepted the fact that Jonny is most likely right when he says he feels like there is another one waiting for us.  Either way, I do not want to talk about it at this stage.

DSC05357Is there another kid of future?  I don’t know, maybe.  But for right now all I can focus on is my life at hand and the three minions I’m currently trying to keep alive.  Motherhood, being the most rewarding and beautiful calling on earth, is freaking hard.  My first two, Sarah and Evan, kick my you-know-what a decent amount of time. Seriously, who would have thought that the newborn would be the easiest?  But then again all my kids were easy until they started moving; thats when it all went downhill.  Ironically, as I am sitting here, I’m listening to high pitch screams as my two oldest push and shove each other over a tiny pumpkin that is still left over from Halloween out in the front drive way. And down goes Evan.  Yes, we are those people.  We buy the pumpkins with every intention to have a great family night cutting up and creating fun creations and then the New Year comes in and the pumpkin is still sitting untouched outside.  It now sits on my counter top, waiting for me to possibly turn it into soup but inevitably it will go bad and get thrown into the trash.  Why am I sharing this you ask?  Just to illustrate the fact that my life is in a constant state of chaos.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my life.  This is the chaos that I’ve wanted for years.  I’m finally getting a chance to stay home raise three beautifully wonderful, sticky, head-strong children while DH spends his days away from home bringing home the bacon, while attending school and serving at church.  Being a SAHM is a calling I have felt drawn to.  Nevertheless, chaos it is.  Fair warning, if you ask me the following: “So, are you guys done or are you going to have another one?” you may get hurt.  A throat punch, quick and unexpected may be in your future.  In reality, this may not happen but oh if you could see inside my head.  It’s hilarious.  The punch.  The look of surprise, mixed with pain in their enlarged eyes as my maniacal laugh echoes in the background.   Sorry you asked on a bad day.  Today’s goal is short and sweet- survival.

What is survival look like, you ask?  Everybody has their own version of surviving.  My survival looks like messy hair thrown into a bun, a makeup-less face and a comfortable oversized shirt riddled with a variety of bodily fluid and food.  Honestly, between the two older kids morning demands and breastfeeding my youngest, I’m lucky if I remember to put deodorant on for the day.  And if I can make it during the day without what can be  called a moment….I call it a success.
You must know what I’m talking about.  If you are a dad and mom then you not only know what I’m talking about but have likewise experienced it in one agree or another.  For those of you who are confused, a moment is that period/time when you are screaming bloody murder either out loud or in your head.  You are about to lose it; not knowing if you can take anymore.  At that moment, all you want is two inches of space or three minutes of alone time to go poop.  That moment is the thing that drives motherly guilt day in and day out….at least it does for me. 
Alright.  Alright.  I know that I sound like a big whiner and I totally hate motherhood.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I love my life.  I love being a mom. I love my 3 children! 12562884_10153766597676043_2045338791_o-2
I love the pure look of joy, when their eyes light up as they  play together; especially when its peacefully play. I love it when the midgets are chasing each other around the house wrestling.  Their giggles are so infectious that you can’t help but smile along.  I love it when my lil’ man runs up to me with a huge grin, says “mommy” in the most endearing way then wraps his tiny, chubby hands around my legs in a giant hug, then immediately turns away to do the same with his baby brother and sister. Seriously, that kid is a lover.  How can my heart not melt when Sarah hands me a gift bag of her toys and reads me the note she wrote: “Dear mom, I love you so much [insert sweet inflection].  I got this gift for you because you are my best friend.” And cue the tears.  And I couldn’t not mention, the huge grin my three month sumo baby gets when he and I make eye contact.
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Those crazy, unique, little people and my sweet husband are the reason why I love my life and why I love my chaos.  If we decided to grace the world with another Kistemann you will know…promise.  Until then enjoy watching the circus and keep your questions to yourself.

Can Those Dishes Really Wait?

DSC_0423I read a quote tonight by Lawrence Cohen of Playful Parenting that struck a cord.  It read “Children don’t say ‘I had a hard day can we talk?’  They say ‘Will you play with me?’ ”  I can’t count the number of times my four year old inquires this same thing of me.  “Mommy, will you play with me?”  “Mommy can we play a game?”  “Mommy, now can we play?”

Sarah, in particular, will look at me with her beautiful, all encompassing brown eyes.  A look that only a 3 week puppy can replicate.  How cold-hearted I must be to dismiss the pleadings of my princess.  And yet, too often my response is, “Not right now sweetie.” “Mommy’s doing work.”  “I can’t.”  “I need to feed brother, or clean or cook dinner” and any number of excuses.  The most used response: “Yes sweetie, after I [do XVY]” but then I don’t.

“Children don’t say ‘I had a hard day can we talk?’  They say ‘Will you play with me?’ ”  The words sting.  It won’t be long before lil’ miss doesn’t want to play with me anymore.  Is what I’m doing really that important?  More than half the time I would say no, it isn’t that important and yet I don’t stop to heed the invitations of my son or daughter.

Now before you go and say oh no not another “the dishes can wait…savor the moment” article, keep reading and please resist the urge to throat-punch me.

There is a time and place.  Kids need to learn that we are there for them and they are of upmost importance.  At the same time, they need to learn that the world does not revolve around them and mommy and daddy have responsibilities to be met.  It’s a fine line to walk that I am still trying to navigate.  If I were a tight rope walker I’d be dead by now.

What I feel (and again take this with a grain of salt) is that we take the DSC_0408time to play, even if all we can devote is 5 minutes away from the task at hand.  Of course you can always spend more time.  And when we do play with them and notice the disaster that is their bedroom, fight the temptation to stop and clean things up.  I know.  I know.  Easier said than done.  Really I’m totally guilty of this.  I’ll go upstairs with the intention to play, the next thing I know I am cleaning and reorganizing the play room, fixing the beds, putting away clothes, then yelling at my daughter for hiding the laundry I asked her to put away the day before.  It’s not easy but we need to give our littles our undecided attention.  If not, how can we expect them to ignore the waves crashing around them and focus in the future.  Not too mention, one-on-one interaction, conversations and eye contact develop a feeling of self worth and identity.  I read it somewhere on a blog before so it must be true.  *Wink

If in that moment you are unable to stop, don’t beat yourself up over it later at night when you lay in bed and replay all the parenting fails you made that day.  Come on, you know you do it too.  Instead, explain to Adam or Lindsay what you are doing (in terms they understand) and that you love them and want to play but must first finish the task at hand because XYZ.  Instead of feeling bad for putting them on the back burner, smile because you are teaching them responsibility and follow through.

If I may share one last thing, it is that maybe those moments of play are more than simple bonding between parent and child.  Could it be that they are life’s way of teaching us, the adult?  Children are pure, they haven’t been corrupted by the world.  Not many years ago they themselves were in heaven.  During that time of play, try to identify what you can learn from them.  What beautiful gem can you glean from them?  I know that’s what I’m going to be working on this week.

Good luck to you.